Bedtime isn’t just the end of the day when a kid climbs in under the blankets and goes to sleep. It’s a transition time and a ritual. It involves certain practical steps such as brushing teeth and putting on pajamas. It also involves certain practices that are more focused on bonding and even entertainment, but that are no less important.
Some families choose this time to talk about their days together. Some use this time to talk about new lessons learned or things they are thankful for. Some enjoy a bedtime story. Or you may choose combinations of these different activities.
A bedtime story is a tradition that goes back for centuries. Even before printed books or widespread literacy, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents told stories to fascinate, educate and ease children to sleep.
Still, even after centuries, there is a big difference between a great bedtime story and a not-so-great one. Just because a book contains a fantastic story, it doesn’t necessarily make it appropriate for bedtime. After all, if you’re reading something stressful or frightening, you’re likely going to create the opposite effect from the one you wanted.
The purpose of a bedtime story is to entertain, but also to soothe and calm your child. Here are some of the features to watch for in a book that will make a truly exceptional bedtime story:
While there aren’t any specific rules that dictate whether or not a storybook will be perfect for bedtime, these can be very helpful in guiding you in the right direction. A nice little library of bedtime books is a wonderful thing to have. It lets you choose the book depending on the length of time you have to dedicate to the story, your child’s mood, and his or her preference that evening.
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